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Keywords:

  • surfactants;
  • foams;
  • proteins;
  • stability;
  • thin films
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Making and breaking foams: A facile method for foam control is reported using a designed biosurfactant. The new biosurfactant is based on a four-helix bundle design which is interfacially active across a broad pH range. At pH 8.5 stable foam forms, yet decreasing the pH to 7.5 causes rapid foam dissipation. This unique behaviour can be linked to subtle molecular and specific-ion effects which lead to switchable changes in the state of the foam thin film (see picture).